Today I made a birthday crown for my soo-to-be-one-year-old daughter, Harper. It is not a particularly fancy crown, the like of which you can purchase on Etsy, but rather a simple crown made from scrap felt and embellishments I had on hand. I started this tradition with my older daughter Makayla. I wanted to mark each birthday with a handmade crown displaying her new age. Truth be told, I considered reusing Makayla’s crowns for Harper–but only in passing. Each girl will have her very own birthday crown each year. And after the birthday has come and gone, I tuck the crowns away for safekeeping. I have a vision of displaying 16 such crowns at for each girl on her milestone birthday.
In the bible Paul writes;
“When I was a child, I spoke and thought and reasoned as a child. But when I grew up, I put away childish things.” 1 Corinthians 13: 11
But how do our children know when to put down childish things? I feel that in mainstream American culture there is a total absence of the traditions that mark the passage from childhood to adulthood. However, such traditions are prevalent in the rest of the world.In our culture the line between child and adult is becoming more and more blurred, and I feel that this ambiguity is causing widespread and unhealthy confusion. Makeup and push-up bras are being marketed to 9 year olds, and yet anyone who has taught knows all about the ‘helicopter parent’ who micromanage every aspect of their childs’ life well into college. No wonder kids are confused and misled!
So, in our house we put a significant emphasis on birthdays. The day is filled with family tradition,s which serve to mark the passage of time for our two girls. I know this alone will neither prevent them from growing up to fast or maturing too slowly. However, I do think that having a rich sense of family culture and identity certainly helps. And really who doesn’t love their very own crown?
My husband and I are intentionally crafting a family culture, which will help to give our daughters a healthy sense of self-worth. The process of ‘putting down childish things’ will not happen overnight, but we will gently coax our daughters toward adulthood in a way that is loving and appropriate. My husband is Korean, so he brought to our marriage his own set of practices and traditions, whicht we are sharing with our daughters. I grew up in a family with a strong french Canadian influence. Above all, we are christians, and we take special care to honestly and sincerely make this integral to our identity, rather than just something we ‘do’ on Sundays.
The word tradition comes from a latin word meaning to action of handing over. What a beautiful picture! We are handing over our culture, our heritage, and our faith to a younger generation. By developing a strong sense of family culture we are teaching our girls who they are and where they come from, and ultimately this will help them to figure out where it is they are going with clarity and confidence.
So today I make a crown. What are you ‘handing over’ to your children?